DHTML Introduction and Resources

When you think about the modern web page, you typically don't envision a static website. Thanks to the advent of scripting languages like JavaScript and PHP, the websites we see today are more interactive and dynamic than their predecessors.

While there are a variety of approaches for creating a dynamic web page, there is one specific technique you're probably familiar with, though you may not have heard much about: DHTML.

The name "DHTML" is a bit of a misnomer. Unlike the markup language HTML from which it draws its name, Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language is actually a term that describes a number of technologies and languages used in conjunction to create dynamic websites.

These are the four key elements of DHTML:

  • HTML: the markup language used to create static pages and apps.

  • CSS: the language used to dictate via a stylesheet the presentation of a page.

  • JavaScript: the programming language used to develop interactive elements on a page.

  • DOM: the programming interface through which a page's code can be changed.

If you're interested in learning more about DHTML, the following list of resources include reference material, step-by-step guides, and tools to help you create dynamic web pages using DHTML.


While websites are always a great solid base to start from, you can't go wrong investing in some tableside resources to walk you through the ins and outs of DHTML.

DHTML-Related Tools

These third-party contributions to DHTML aim to help developers write cleaner code, debug with ease, and use pre-written scripts to enhance their efforts.

  • Dynamic Drive: this website is dedicated to providing developers with free JavaScript (and other DHTML) scripts.

  • DHTML Goodies: another online resource that provides free DHTML (and Ajax) scripts.

  • JavaScript Kit Scripts: another free resource for finding JavaScript scripts to help in creating a variety of design and animation effects.

DHTML Online Guides and Tutorials

Want a step-by-step guide to learning about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and DOM? Or maybe you prefer some hands-on practice? The following guides will cover all your bases.

  • A Web Development Roadmap for Beginners: this "Learn to Code" guide is the perfect place to start working with DHTML as it'll take you from the basics of HTML (Chapter 1) all the way through JavaScript and jQuery (Chapter 5).

  • W3Schools DHTML Tutorials: W3Schools offers a variety of tutorials on DHTML, broken up by the three different programming languages.

  • Mozilla Web Technologies Tutorials: the Mozilla Developer Network has one of the more comprehensive (and well-organized) guides available on the various programming languages involved in DHTML.

  • QcTutorials DHTML Tutorial: looking for a simple and straight-forward approach to learning DHTML? Walk through this tutorial and then keep their DHTML and HTML DOM examples on hand for future reference.

  • Beginner's Guide to DHTML Tutorial: an introduction to DHTML which includes a number of tutorials to get you started.

  • Web Developer and CSS Tutorials: there is a lot you can learn to do with CSS, so don't limit yourself to just the basics. This resource includes a variety of CSS tutorials based on your specific website's needs.

  • JavaScript Tutorials: another guide from JavaScript Kit, only this one focuses specifically on JavaScript-related tasks.

  • Codecademy Guide to Making an Interactive Website: this course takes approximately five hours to complete, but it's beautifully and intuitively laid out. You'll walk through each step involved in developing an interactive website using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and DOM.

  • CSS Reference: use this simple resource as a quick reference guide when writing CSS.

  • DOM Reference: learn more about the different DOM objects here.

Get to Work with DHTML

If you're planning to create dynamic content for your website, it's important to have a firm understanding of how each element works and how they all play together under the umbrella of DHTML.

The above reference guides are a good place to start, but nothing beats hands-on practice if you want to push the limits of opportunity posed by learning a new programming technique.

Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and website development:

HTML for Beginners — Ultimate Guide

If you really want to learn HTML, we've created a book-length article, HTML for Beginners — Ultimate Guide.

And it really is the ultimate guide; it will take you from the very beginning to mastery.